Wildhorse Lake is located at the bottom of a deep glacial cirque surrounded by rocky walls on three sides. Just one side of the lake is open with a view of the horizon—a stunning landscape created by ancient lava flows. Visitors can marvel views of Alvord Desert, and Wildhorse canyon below the lake. This arid bowl is treeless but has many wildflowers in the summer season. The best time to visit Wildhorse Lake in Steens Mountains is from July through October.
The 2.5-mi (4-km) hike to the lake starts from the parking area just below Steens Mountain. The trail descends 1200 ft (366 m) into a bowl located at the head of Wildhorse Canyon. The area that belongs to Steens Mountain Wilderness is perfect for backpacking, swimming and relaxing on a summer day. It's also an excellent spot to observe bighorn sheep.
The Wildhorse Lake trail can be accessed from Wild Steens Mountain Loop Road not far from Frenchglen, Oregon. The route climbs to the rim and ends at a parking area leading to the trailhead. It is the highest road in Oregon.